Richard Coles – Keynote Speaker

Cleric, Broadcaster and Former Communard

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Specialist Subjects

  • From Pop Star To Parson
  • LGBTQ+, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Education
  • Trust
  • Ethics
  • Corporate Social Responsibility

Language

  • English

Biography

The Reverend Richard Coles is an English musician, writer, Church of England priest, and co-presenter of Saturday Live on BBC Radio 4. He read Theology at King’s College London, and after ordination worked as a curate in Lincolnshire, then in central London, before coming to Finedon in Northamptonshire, where he was a Vicar for eleven years. He was the multi-instrumentalist who partnered Jimmy Somerville in the 1980s band the Communards, which achieved three Top Ten hits, including the Number 1 record and best-selling single of 1986, a club/dance version of “Don’t Leave Me This Way”.

Reverend Richard Coles is co-presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live and is regularly seen as a guest panelist on shows such as Would I Lie To You?, Have I Got News For You and QI. Often described as Britain’s most famous vicar, Richard was the inspiration for the main character in the BBC hit comedy Rev, a programme for which he also served as consultant. In 2022, Reverend Richard Coles presented Good Grief? a Channel 4 documentary exploring the subject of how to live positively with grief.

He is the author of Fathomless Riches, Bringing in the Sheaves, Lives and Legends of the Improbable Saints, and most recently, The Madness of Grief, which was a Sunday Times bestseller. His debut mystery novel Murder Before Evensong was published by Hachette in 2022, followed by its sequel, A Death in the Parish, in 2023. Three more Canon Clement books are in the works.

Since 2023, Richard has also been a co-host of the popular history podcast The Rabbit Hole Detectives.

Popular Talks by Richard Coles

From Pop Star To Parson

Having addressed audiences as diverse as local Government Ministers in Marlow and world-renown practitioners of the British Medical Association, to international travel agents in Abu Dhabi and an association of car fleet managers, The Reverend Richard Coles has refined a highly original, humorous and captivating after-dinner speech that will appeal to all audiences.

There aren’t many Church of England priests that can claim to have had a British Number 1 hit single… in fact, to date, Richard Coles is the one and only; as part of the highly successful pop duo the Communards.

In his popular after-dinner speech, From Pop Star To Parson, Richard tells a story as real as it is unlikely.

He connects the euphoria and mayhem of being ‘Top of The Pops’ in the 80s — which resonates with audiences of that era — to his more recent circumstances as Church of England priest, radio broadcaster, television presenter and best-selling author — which resonates with all sorts of people — and enables him to reach a wide audience, answering amongst many burning questions, “How do you go from pop star to priest? And why?”

Other popular after-dinner speeches include the Life of a Thoroughly Modern Parson and, since his appearance on Strictly Come Dancing, Adventures and Misadventures in Dance.

LGBTQ+, Diversity and Inclusion

As a high-profile gay priest, Richard Coles is increasingly asked to address audiences around the themes of LGBTQ+, Diversity and Inclusion. He also has a particular interest in housing and building communities — he is the Patron and former board member of Greatwell Homes housing association – and has spoken to several national conferences on this theme.

Richard is also frequently asked to speak on other appropriate, but perhaps less obvious speech themes, including Trust and Ethics, to which he can bring a unique and interesting perspective as a member of the clergy.

Recent testimonials

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